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Terra Cotta Warriors

copper carriage and horses in Terracotta Warriors museum in XianThe Terra Cotta Warriors is only a part of the Qin emperor's tomb complex. They may have remained forgotten had it not been for the fortuitous discovery by local peasants drilling a wellin 1974. What they found would excite the archeology world.

In a vault of approximately 12,000㎡ and 5m underground lay some 8,000 terracotta infantry soldiers, archers, cavalrymen and chariots arranged in battle formation, ready to defend their emperor's immortal soul. Each soldier is approximately 1.8m-tall, with higher-ranking soldiers being taller, and made of 7.6cm thick terracotta clay. Each part ofthe hollow body was made separately, while the trunk, limbs and hands were mass-produced, the heads were individually constructed and the face of each warrior is distinct. It has been theorized the faces were sculpted from the likeness of the soldiers and artisans. The Terra Cotta Warriors show a high level of artistry with individualized facial expressions, hairstyles and clothing and were once brightly painted with black armor, colorful red scarves and green pants, though the colors have long faded. As warriors, they each held weapon, bronze swords, spears, axes and halberds-which were still sharp when discovered, and longbows and crossbows.

Three Pits of Terra Cotta Warriors

Three pits containing Terra Cotta Warriors are open, a nearby fourth pit was found empty. The pits are still being excavated and in many warriors lay toppled as if they fell in combat. Shattered and headless statues give the eerie sense of viewing the carnage of an ancient battlefield. Though a daunting task, archeologists continue to piece together the broken remains of those warriors who lost their battle against time.

Pit 1 is the largest and contains about 6,000 warriors with war chariots and horses. Housed in a gigantic building that resembles an airplane hangar, the warriors are protected from the elements and tourists who view them from elevated walkways. The Terra Cotta Warriors are lined in 38 trenches, facing eastwards to the emperor's tomb.

The Terra Cotta Warriors in Pit 2 are mostly hidden and excavation continues with most of the area closed off. This pit show signs of fire damage, the wooden roof structure was burned when the mausoleum was looted by Xiang Yu, one of the pit of the Terracotta Warriors in Xianwarlords who battled for supremacy after the fall of the Qin dynasty. While the first pit contains mostly foot soldiers, the second pit is the mobile arm of the army with chariots, cavalry and archers. A tall statue, thought to be a general, was also found in this pit.

The 3 pit is the command center for the ghostly army, with 68 statues of officers around a war chariot. The clothing of the officers differ from common soldiers, the officers wear fine robes and are much taller.

There's a display hall with two bronze chariots unearthed near the base of the emperor's tomb. These elaborate half-sized chariots are intricately detailed with detailed drivers and horses that have decorated plumes and gold and silver inlaid harnesses. These richly decorated chariots feature working parts such as windows that open and close and turning handles. There are also exhibitions featuring artifacts from the pits, allowing a closer look at the intricate workmanship of Terra Cotta Warriors.

Outside the gates of the Terra Cotta Warriors, present day market warriors will give a shrill battle cry as you approach. They're armed with different wares, from ubiquitous replica terracotta warriors to postcards-the best defense is a good offense and that means bargaining.


Terra Cotta Warriors Tour

With so magnificent scale and exquisite skill, known as one of the world wonders, Terra Cotta Warriors is the place should not be missed during the tour to Xian.